London officially recognised as a ‘City for Peace’ at the Inaugural Football for Peace Ball on Friday 17th November 2017 as the diplomatic and football world came together.
The award is bestowed by Football for Peace (FfP), a United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) backed initiative, which seeks to unite people and communities through football. His Royal Highness Prince William supported Football for Peace’s Birmingham campaign.
The London City for Peace programme, which seeks to help unite the city after the tragic events of the past 18 months, involves four professional football clubs in the Capital. Each club will be part of the programme, which aims to train young people to become Peace Ambassadors – teaching them about equality, diversity, and leadership and giving them the tools to use football to unite and engage over 1,500 youth across the City in 2 years.
The glittering black-tie ball, hosted by Vice President of FIFA, HRH Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, took place last week at the iconic Guildhall in London, with royal patronage, diplomats, football legends, corporate leaders and Football for Peace supporters coming together to support and raise funds for the movement.
Sports Minister Rt Hon Tracey Crouch said: “We must commend the incredible work Football for Peace have undertaken, it is in line with the governments’ strategy and we are fully supportive of the initiative in using football diplomacy in bringing communities together both in the UK and globally.”
A portrait of Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho by internationally-renowned artist Lincoln Townley was auctioned at the ball. Earlier Ronaldinho said: “I am honored to receive the art piece which will make a difference to many children facing marginalisation in London and globally. It is great to be involved in a movement which contributes to peace by uniting, educating and promoting friendships between people.”
The Football for Peace ball was honoring footballers and their mothers who have made an outstanding contribution to society through their philanthropic ventures. Sandra St Helen, mother of Jermain Defoe, and Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos, mother of Ronaldinho, are just some who were recognised at the event.
“Through the universal language of football, we transcend boundaries and religious and cultural differences,” says Kashif Siddiqi, international footballer and Co-founder of Football for Peace, who has historically been hosted by Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2015 and 2016 for his support and blessings.